From time to time, CQL likes to share information about tools available to our clients in the ecommerce space. Our thought is, anything you can do to gain a competitive edge is worth considering. For some businesses, it’s utilizing a custom solution, and for others, it’s moving to a new commerce platform that fits your business’ needs and growth plan. As a digital agency, we implement and integrate many technological resources and solutions for our clients to help them achieve whatever success means to them. One of these tools is XMPie.
XMPie is a multichannel marketing technology that allows customers to personalize their products with custom imagery, text, and more. XMPie’s PersonalEffect service lets your customer instantly see what their personalized product will look like as they’re customizing its appearance.
Delivering Personalized Products to Your Customers
Below are some step-by-step examples of how a customer can utilize XMPie to create custom products. You can see that simply by adding a personal message or picture, you can make your ecommerce experience stand out.
The XMPie Server
The PersonalEffect suite includes a number of services, and the main integration point is the uProduce server.
The uProduce service is self-hosted, so it can easily fit in with your existing infrastructure, whether it’s on AWS, Rackspace, or your own servers. The tool has a robust set of SOAP APIs for generating image proofs and print quality images. Once you’ve provisioned the servers and installed the XMPie software, the next step requires the addition of templates for generating the images. The number of servers and supporting services will depend on the scale of your project.
The backbone of the personalized image rendering is the Template document, which can either be a standard Adobe InDesign document, or XMPie’s proprietary XLIM document. XLIM documents are small, lightweight, and great for most designs. For the most complicated designs, InDesign provides additional power and flexibility. The Template defines the layers and parameters that the user can customize allowing the user to change fonts and colors, swap out different image layers, embed custom images, and much more. We found that if you already have Templates defined for your products, they can be converted to work with XMPie.
Integrating with Your Site
Once you have Templates, you’ll need to integrate the service with your site. In order to let the users customize their products, you’ll need to create a custom product configurator. XMPie renders the images, but the UI for selecting the options is a custom interface integrated with your site. If you have an existing product configurator, then the parameters will just need to be mapped to the parameters defined in the Template Documents.
Image Request Workflow
Requesting an image is a three-step process that begins with submitting a job request to the server. The job request is an XML document that contains all the details that XMPie will need to generate the image. This includes the personalizations that the user has entered so far, the output resolution and any other details that the XMPie Template needs to render.
Once the job is submitted, the XMPie server works quickly to generate the requested image.
Next in the process is to poll the server for the job status until the image is done. This normally doesn’t take too long.
Finally, when the image is ready, the URL for the image is requested and the image is shown to the user. The dynamically generated URL is unique to the image job and the image is stored permanently, so the image can be loaded again and again without needing to regenerate it.
Optimizing for Speed
For prior client integrations where an existing personalization service was in place, XMPie allowed us to replace the service all at once or phase out the old service as we completed the implementation. Rolling it out incrementally is a good idea if you have a large catalog of products and will give you the chance to test all of the new templates.
Interested in Integrating XMPie with Your Site?
With over 25 years of experience in digital commerce, CQL has the knowledge and expertise to implement tools like XMPie with your online business. Contact us for more information or inquiries on how XMPie could be integrated with your site. We have talented developers, designers, and ecommerce professionals ready to help you set your business apart from the competition.